LA GRIGLIETTA – Una piccola gemma nel cuore di Roma

As the title states, this place it’s a real little gem.

Very old family business, which has been preserved as authentic as possible since the beginning. The atmosphere is really relaxed while the owner and his son do everything in their power to make you feel confortable and taken care of.

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Quality of food? Do you really need to ask? Traditional and authentic recipes which vary from the best starters of Tuscany (wide selection of cured meats and cheeses) and the addition of a range of Fritti (fried food) typical from Lazio, specifically from Rome: Fried zucchini flowers filled with anchovies and mozzarella, supplì al telefono (rice croquettes), potatoes croquettes and all Romans favourites…THE CARCIOFI (artichokes)!

This is the season of the artichokes (FEB-MAY) and in Rome, we definitely know how to prep them in a thousand different ways.

As a starter or a side La Griglietta offers Carciofi alla Romana (mint, garlic and lemon) Carciofi alla Giudia (pushed flat and fried), fried Carciofi (batter-mixed in Egg and flour), crostini with Carciofi …yum yum yum!!! Then, moving to the main courses: pasta and Carciofi (sauce is made as a bolognaise of artichokes), stuffed Carciofi filled in an Carciofi sauce and cheese (sometimes)….etc. etc.

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This place doesn’t only have an artichokes based menu, they of course offer a wide selection of Roman amazing recipes (Carbonara, one of the best in town!) but the real gem is the TAGLIATA! SUPER YUM YUM YUM!

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The beef is “imported” directly from Tuscany 3 times a week. It serves a minimum of 2 people, as these are huge! They slice it directly at the table and the smell drives you crazy…30 second of slicing process that seems like time has stopped and you just want to taste it so badly!!!

Finally…he is done and you can begin this journey of super tender texture: juicy in the middle, with a nice crust. I could have it every day!

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To accompany the Tagliata, just ask them for the house red, easy to drink and it doesn’t spoil the taste of the meat. Of course they have a wide selection of bottles; if you are a wine lover, I’m sure you’ll find something of your likes!

Desserts are the typical ones, but extremely good and tasty. My personal favourite would be the Tiramisu.

During the winter they don’t have tables on the footpath but if there’s a sunny day and temperature is mild, ask them to move you a table outside and they’ll be happy to do it for you!

 

LA GRIGLIETTA

Via Germanico, 170, 192 Roma

Tel. +39 06.3211312

 

OPENING HOURS:

MON to SAT 12noon a 3:30pm and 7:30pm a 11pm

SUN Closed

 

A few other shots of tasteful creations by La Griglietta

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LA CARBONARA – ‘BBONA VERA!!!

Right in the heart of Rome, in Piazza Campo di Fiori, you’ll find one of the oldest restaurants in the City, founded years ago by a coal dealer’s wife (a carbonaro) who had his shop right in front of the restaurant.  La Carbonara is also a nod to one of the most traditional Roman dishes you will find: La Pasta alla Carbonara. You could presume it’s going to be a usual tourist trap, but the truth is that the owners had the foresight to keep it really traditional – both in the menu and in the decor.

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You find yourself then, having lunch on a table, admiring the old piazza with the statue of Giordano Bruno in the middle, surrounded by the ancient buildings and the local food market in the centre.
In the evenings, the piazza turns in one of the most popular areas of the Rome nightlife scene with cool bars, clubs and cafes.

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The restaurant is run by Donna Teresa who gives a touch of originality even to the most simple foods like her amazing cured meats, or the homemade ravioli filled up with ricotta cheese and nuts. But many locals choose to ignore the menu, as Ms Teresa often creates surprise dishes depending on what is in season that day/week/month.  But you cannot go to La Carbonara without ordering the…Pasta alla Carbonara of course!!!! (It’s the most incredible pasta dish, made with a sauce of eggs, creamy pecorino cheese and pancetta – for the few who still don’t know what it is!)

Other main courses are again buonissimi like the pasta with clams, cherry tomatoes and rocket salad, or the mixed fried vegetables, the giblets di una voltaas well as the chicken breast alla fornara. Finally you cannot miss the abbacchio scotta ditto: the lamb meat is always tender and succulent.

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In terms of wines, as always in Rome, you have lots of choice, but we’d like to suggest the Cesanese del Piglio, if you like red, or a refreshing Canestraro Grechetto if you fancy white.

LA CARBONARA

Piazza Campo de’ Fiori, 23
00186 Roma
Tel: +39 06 6864783

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CAFFE PROPAGANDA – THE MODERN PARISIAN STYLE CAFÈ IN ROME

A group of like-minded foodie friends within the restaurant industry in Rome decided to team up and open something unique in their home city. Tradition and roots are what everyone takes into consideration when opening a restaurant in my city.  They decided to offer really high quality food delivered in a totally unique way.

They joined forces with a well-known Architect’s studio in the Holy City and in 2011, a few steps away from the Coliseum, they opened CAFFE PROPAGANDA!

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CP takes elements of old and new Paris, then brings them together in a brand new look, merging the style of an old-fashioned Parisian Bistro but with some modern twists.  You’ll find high ceilings, a beautiful zinc and durmast wood counter, the typical porcelain tails classic from the Metro of Paris, the white columns…and so on!

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It took them a while to name the place as it had to express what they were standing for: healthy and organic food coming from the surrounding area, to keep food miles as low as possible. The idea was to make a Propaganda in order to cement the principles.

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On the menu, there’s a bit of everything: salads and sandwiches for a quick meal,  a selection of teas and pastries for the afternoon, aperitivo and “stuzzichini” before dinner-time, a proper menu printed on an old style newspaper (incredible selection of cheese boards and organic wines) and a very unique list of cocktails/mocktails.

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All details are really taken into consideration!

What’s quirky? They only play music on Vinyl….How about that?!

CAFFE PROPAGANDA

+39 06 94534255

Via Claudia 15

00184

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DAL TOSCANO – CHE BISTECCA!

Tuscany is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy – and the renowned restaurant in Rome “Dal Toscano” serves its best delicacies. You can find it close to the Vatican Wall, in one of those old fashioned buildings. I’d say its’ definitely classic, clean and nicely set up.

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Tuscan food has always been my passion, my Grandma Maria being from a little town San Giovanni in Val d’Arno close to Florence. On the many Saturdays we had lunch at her house as kids, there were always dishes from her homeland, and that was one of the reasons why I became so passionate about good food. “Dal Toscano” restaurant has been in Rome for 77 years (in 1938 it was founded under the name of Trattoria Toscana) and it houses one of the best grills in the Capital, where you can enjoy various excellent meats cooked by the “maestri della brace”. The best dish is the world famous “Bistecca alla Fiorentina”.  Even if it is such a celebrated food, it is not easy to find because it has to be the best cut with the bone (similar to the T-Bone steak or the Porterhouse).

The meat must be matured for at least 15 days in cold storage, placed in salt for a long time and cooked on the grill.

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It’s cooked for a few minutes on both sides and served rare. The steak should be cut very thick (stand alone! – They say). My steak weighed 1.3kg and had to ask for help from my diners to end it all.

How to enjoy this meat so succulent and tender? Of course with a nice bottle of Chianti! What a match! Chianti and Fiorentina steak seem born one for each other.

In addition to steak, I could enjoy other typical Tuscan dishes: crostini with liver, fried brain and some salami as finocchiona (fennel is a spice used extensively throughout this region). And to sip at the end of the meal? A Fernet Branca! Make mine a double please!

INFO:

Via Germanico, 58-60, 00192, ROMA

+39 06 3972 5717

http://www.ristorantedaltoscano.it

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LA BISTECCA ALLA FIORENTINA

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CROSTINI TOSCANI
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CHIANTI…OF COURSE!

Da Enzo, IL RISTORANTE

If you’re looking for a good fish restaurant in Rome I must insist that you go to Da Enzo.

It is close to Piazza Cavour, on the way to Piazza del Popolo. The restaurant blends modern retro with ancient references dotted across the city, and welcomes the city’s top Italian lawyers, magistrates and politicians to tuck into seafood and Roman specialities cooked the ‘Enzo’ way.

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At this family establishment, every guest is greeted personally by the owner Mrs Genny – and with such a warm welcome it feels more like her private home than a public place. Her husband, head chef Luciano, and one of their sons – Luciano’s right hand man – run the kitchen. Meanwhile, back on the restaurant floor their second son – a talented sommelier – introduces the finest quality local wines as well as less well-known bottles from the south and north of the country. He’s best left to it – he never fails to choose the right cork to accompany your food.

On my last visit, I tried the Paccheri con i Polipetti e pomodorini (pasta with baby octopus and cherry tomatoes) and the classic   Spaghetti alla vongole (spaghetti with clams). As fresh as can be, the fish was dressed in a delectable sauce, simply mamma mia!   The baby octopus and cherry tomatoes garnished with fresh parsley made for a symphony of simple flavours in my mouth, while the spaghetti with clams met the highest of expectations of such a popular classic.   Because it is such a simple dish it is oddly a very hard dish to get right.

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I also recommend the tuna tartare which I tried on a previous occasion. Served with a sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil, lemon and black pepper, it is light and suitable for the most sophisticated diners.

But my favourite dish at Da Enzo’s is the fritto di paranza, calamari e gamberi (fried fish, squid and shrimp) which is unusually light as it is pan-fried and they change the oil every time. Plus the Fried Cod – una delizia that melts in your mouth, tender and tasty – you will never forget it!

For dessert, my indulgence would be the pear and ricotta tart or the classic pastiera napoletana.

– – – HCM

INFO:

DA ENZO, IL RISTORANTE

Via Ennio Quirino Visconti, 39

00193 RomaItalia

+39 06 3215743

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Here they are, Luciano & Jenny… Enzo is not here any longer unfortunately, but they’re doing a great job with the help of their son Mario!

And here what we had for dinner…
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LA ZANZARA – BZZZZZZ

Pungente, irriverente, pronta a stuzzicare….”

Charged, irreverent, always up for a bit of a debate…these are the adjectives selected by the customers of “La Zanzara”.

Rome discovers a new Italian style bistro in the heart of “Prati”, one of the most central and famous areas of the Holy City. Just five minutes’ walk from the Vatican and ten minutes from Piazza del Popolo, the location is perfect!

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Open all day: breakfast, aperitivo 1, lunch, coffees and teas, aperitivo 2, dinner, cocktails… Every single step is perfection!

Their menu is traditionally Roman. They use the best quality ingredients for the simplest recipes to makes the experience completely unique.

There is also an incredible selection of cheeses and cured meats that will allow you to discover – or in my case rediscover – the cornucopia of flavours and scents to be found in my home city.

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Many say that the grill is why they go to La Zanzara – which is true – but what struck me were the cicchetti – small snacks or side dishes, originally from Venice – ideal for sharing and with a glass of wine.

And to drink?  There’s as good a selection as the top bars around the area. The wine list contains wines from old Italian wineries as well as from young producers who know how to produce quality products. The bar is run by a barlady who has come up with some very innovative new recipes alongside the age-old classics. For the beer lovers there’s a lovely selection of artisanal Italian craft beers as well as the big players such as Birra Moretti.

The staff are young and lovely but they know what they’re doing.

Definitely one of my favorite places right now!!

– – – HCE

INFO:

La Zanzara

Via Crescenzio, 84

00193 – Roma – ITALIA

Open every day

http://www.lazanzararoma.com/

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The Fiat 500 Story – From Parigi to Londra – Notting Hill, love at first sight! PART 2

Michele managed to find the telephone number of a mechanic and while we were waiting we spotted this empty shop exactly in front of us. It was like the Cinquecento, by breaking down right there was suggesting that we should enquire for it!

The mechanic arrived and he said that the engine was gone – that we needed to replace it and that it was near impossible without ‘extortionate’ cost to find an engine to replace it in the UK.

Of course, we couldn’t say goodbye to our only friend in London…

A few months later we opened our first little Arancina pizzeria in London, guess where? Right there, in Notting Hill, exactly where the car left us!

Did we trash the 500? NO WAY! We sliced it in half and placed it as a memento of the journey in the window of our restaurant.

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Our First Arancina branch – 19 Pembridge Road – Notting Hill – London

A year and 6 months later, our second branch opened in Westbourne Grove. Guess what we placed in the window? Exactly…the other half of our favourite travelling chariot, the Fiat Cinquento, our beloved car…

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And the second Branch – 19 Westbourne Grove – Bayswater – London

The End?? No way, that’s just how it all started!!! 🙂

– – – HCM